“I’m [27F] living and working in a developing country with less than 5,000 expats in it. Because of this, everyone knows everyone and our dating pool is small.
I matched with someone [32M] on Tinder and saw he was Facebook friends with 2 people [20sF] from my organization. Before meeting with him, I asked them both if he’s a nice, good guy, and they said yes and that I should go for it.
Well, one of the FB friends who dated him “Tara” ended things because he has a wife and two kids in another country. She told everyone in my organization, and nobody told me.
My good friend who we’ll call Deanna knew this as soon as I started talking about him to her, but didn’t wanna say anything to me because she didn’t want to “seem judgmental.” She assumed I already knew he was married, which I did not. I would message her occasionally about him, clearly with a crush and showing excitement. She herself is very free-spirited and open, and probably would date a married man without guilt.
Long story short, I found out. Told the guy he was a scumbag and blocked him on everything. I would never ever date a married man, ever. I didn’t know he was married because we spent every weekend together, went out in public together, added each other on social media with no problems, met each other’s friends, and so on. He told me he’s never been married and I didn’t question it.
The guy is a jerk and I’ll never see him again. But I don’t know what to do/say/think about the two girls who didn’t warn me. Tara, the one who dated him before, and Deanna, the close friend who knew all along. Should I talk to them? Cut them off? Say live and let live?”
TL;DR – Everyone knew I was dating a married man except for me. A heads up would’ve been nice.
Dear Globe Trotting Gal,
I agree. A heads up from those who knew would have been nice.
I will give Deanna the benefit of the doubt here. As you said, she is much more free-spirited. And she could have reasonably convinced herself that he was in an ethically non-monogamous relationship with his wife at the time. She could have also reasonably deduced that you could have known about it as well and chose to date anyway. I don’t think any of those are indicative of her as a bad friend, just not one that knew exactly what you needed to hear. She had a reasonable emotional alibi in supporting your relationship in its entirety, possible unethics and all. Her only crime is that she did not know you well enough to know this would have been a dealbreaker for you.
It is a little bit more complicated for Tara who has had a very personal experience with him. It would have been much easier to accept if she did not publicize the reasons behind her falling out with the 32M. But she was very open and honest about it, but just didn’t clue you in to something that could be such a dealbreaker for you, as was a dealbreaker for her. She definitely had an opportunity to tell you as much when you reached out to her. On the other hand, what obligation did she have to stir to pot in your relationship with him? She too could have reasonably doubted that you knew what she knew. And if you aren’t particularly good friends, I can see why she might have hesitated to revisit a relationship that she has had such negative personal experience in the past.
I do think that you are placing an inordinate amount of pain and blame onto your friends here, when it honestly needs to be placed on the cheating spouse. For both Tara and Deanna, it might be beneficial for you to give them the benefit of the doubt but respectably and respectfully allow them each to earn back the trust they lost through this particular incident.
I am really sorry that you are going through this. Your pain is very apparent from your language. You clearly have done your best to make sure you were in an ethically sound and appropriate relationship of your own by checking in with your limited network of expat friends. And while there are plenty of blames to go around, there aren’t a ton of islands here to burn bridges in between.
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